Skiing the Craftsbury Marathon - by Me and Everyone’s Favorite New Robot (Chat GPT)

I recently completed the Craftsbury ski marathon in Craftsbury, Vermont and figured I’d provide an update here.

I’ve been super busy lately, which has limited my blog output (sigh). Being pressed for time, I started wondering whether maybe I could get a little help from everyone’s new robot friend – Chat GPT – in churning out an update. It turns out, you CAN get help from a robot, but only if you don’t mind sounding like a robot. SO … below … I will share my thoughts about Craftsbury, interspersed with the robot’s take. See what you think!

Oh, wait, first (as I always ask in each blog post): how does the experience I’m describing resemble (in any way) starting an apparel brand? Hmm. Maybe let’s just say that robots can help you a little but they definitely can’t get you over the finish line!

OK, let’s get started. I asked Chat GPT to write me a blog post about skiing the Craftsbury ski marathon. Here’s how the robot opened:

“I recently had the privilege of participating in the Craftsbury 50 km ski race in Vermont, and I have to say, it was an experience I will never forget. The race, which takes place in the heart of Vermont, is a true test of endurance and skill, bringing together some of the best cross-country skiers from around the world.”

Mostly true! I won’t forget the event, even if this year it was 38 km rather than 50 km due to snow conditions. And, yes, the field of competitors was pretty impressive. Super fast, at least compared to me.

“As someone who has been cross-country skiing for a few years, I was eager to take on the challenge of the Craftsbury. The race was everything I expected and more. The course was a beautiful combination of rolling hills, frozen lakes, and breathtaking forests, making it both challenging and scenic. The well-marked and patrolled course ensured the safety of all participants, and the aid stations every 10-15 km provided much-needed food, drinks, and medical assistance if needed.”

I guess this is what a robot could say about any race. I mean, I’m guessing the robot never actually SKIED a race, although I bet it could be a competitor – what with those robot-machine arms and legs. Anyway, I saw lots of hills and forests, but no frozen lakes (that I was aware of, anyway). I saw nobody patrolling the course, and no medical assistance – tho maybe it was there and I just didn’t see it.

There were plenty of aid stations providing home-made nut-balls and maple-based sports drink. Not a single-serve GU packet or ounce of Gatorade to be found anywhere, however.

“Skiing the Craftsbury 50 km was not just about the competition, it was about the atmosphere and camaraderie. The event attracts spectators from all over the world, and the local community is actively involved in the event, with volunteers from the town helping to organize the race and provide support for the skiers. I was amazed by the level of support and encouragement I received from fellow skiers, as well as the spectators.”

There were hardly any spectators from down the (dirt) road you had to take to get to Craftsbury, let alone from around the world. That said, it WAS definitely a community-oriented event. Thanks to all the volunteers for making and handing out the maple nut-balls etc.! I’d also say that – in perhaps typical Ethan-Frome-silent-New Englander-type style – there didn’t seem to be a ton of camaraderie with the other skiers. Maybe that’s just because they were so much faster than me!  

“As I crossed the finish line, exhausted but elated, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment. The Craftsbury 50 km ski race is not just a competition, it's a celebration of the sport of cross-country skiing and the beauty of Vermont. I would highly recommend this event to anyone who loves cross-country skiing or just wants to experience the thrill of competition and the beauty of the Vermont landscape. In conclusion, the Craftsbury 50 km ski race is an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves cross-country skiing. Whether you're a seasoned skier or just starting out, this race is a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself and make memories that will last a lifetime. I'm already looking forward to participating in the next edition of this amazing race!”

As I crossed the finish line I was less elated than chastened by all the work I need to do to be ready for the Birkebeiner ski race in Wisconsin in a few weeks. I need to get with the program! All that said, this Craftsbury was a pretty cool event in a beautiful location, albeit a loooooong way from anywhere if you don’t happen to be in northern New England already. Definitely recommended!

As to the point of whether Chat GPT can write a good blog post, I guess the jury is still out. Seems to me that future iterations of AI may be even more advanced – but they’ll never be able to replicate a human voice. Certainly I felt like the draft Chat GPT provided to me didn’t sound at all like it was written by a real person.

Who knows?! Maybe there’s still a little future left for humans. Fingers crossed!